The Philadelphia Phillies have a number of question marks to address in their outfield and, as a result, that leaves the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ outfield situation a bit cloudy until we get further along through Spring Training.
Projecting what the Hogs’ outfield might look like was not easy, but considering a number of factors—such as the Phillies’ need for outfield depth—the following three players appear to be good fits to start at Lehigh Valley.
Left Field: Steve Susdorf
In six seasons at the Minor League level, if there’s one thing that Susdorf has proven it’s that he can hit the baseball. The 27-year-old boasts a stat line of .302/.369./.427 in the Minors and is coming off another strong year at Lehigh Valley where he hit .313.
Susdorf has no power to speak of. He hit just two home runs in 101 games for the IronPigs last season. However, he plays about as hard as any player in the Phillies organization and that’s why he—rather than some other arguably more visually pleasing prospects—got the call up to Philadelphia when Domonic Brown went on the disabled list in late July.
His work ethic is the trait most highly spoken of, as the left-handed corner outfielder has little else to separate him from the pack. Still, he makes the most of it and has earned the IronPigs fans’ respect with his all-out play.
Center Field: Tyson Gillies
I don’t know if he hit fits in the Phillies’ future plans at center field, but the 25-year-old athlete certainly has Major League potential.
Though not a power hitter by any means, Gillies showed some pop last season with 10 home runs in 428 at-bats between Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading. As a whole, however, he desperately needs to improve as a hitter to show that he can play with the big boys.
Gillies’ speed on the basepath and his prowess in the field are what make him most intriguing. His stint with the IronPigs last season was not a good step in the right direction for him. After hitting just .220 in 237 at-bats, he will have to hit much better to prove he is ready for a chance at the big-league level.
Right Field: Leandro Castro
Castro spent most of 2013 as the IronPigs’ starting right fielder and you can likely bank on that being the case this upcoming season. The 24-year-old hit .256 with eight home runs, 55 runs batted in and a team-high 20 stolen bases.
Castro’s free-swinging attitude is one of his greatest detriments. It’s the cause for his dramatically low on-base percentage (.280 last season) despite being a base-stealing machine.
If Castro could improve his plate discipline, it would be interesting to see what he could develop into. If he could get on base more often, he would be a terror for opposing pitchers.
Lou Musto covers the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for Examiner.com. You can follow him on Twitter @LouisMusto for all the latest Lehigh Valley IronPigs news.