The Top of the Lineup is an Issue Again


All-Pro Reels/Wikipedia/Fair Use

When the 2021-22 off-season rolled around President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said at his end of the season press conference that they needed a leadoff hitter. It made perfect sense as the Phillies ranked 28th in wRC+ from the leadoff position in 2021. 

He gave a four-year contract to Kyle Schwarber, who had the highest wRC+ from the leadoff spot with over 100 plate appearances. Even if Schwarber is a known slow starter, he has just a 20 wRC+ from the leadoff position heading into Sunday night. 

Even if Schwarber hasn't been as disastrous of a signing as people will say, the goal was he would be a great leadoff option for them, and he hasn't come close. Outside of Schwarber, the Phillies have tried Jean Segura, JT Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins for the majority of leadoff spot appearances, with a sprinkle of Odúbel Herrera and Alec Bohm. 

Nothing has worked for them as they have been as bad as possible from the leadoff spot with a 45 wRC+, last in baseball. 

It's been so bad that Hoskins's .664 OPS has been enough to hit him there 13 straight games heading into Saturday night and none of us are complaining.  

They might not have any better options, Segura has a .462 OPS from that spot, Realmuto at .308, and Herrera was one of the worst leadoff hitters in the sport last year. 

Maybe they could try Bohm there but he has a .644 OPS in the month of May so that doesn't work either. It's also hard to imagine they would try Bryce Harper there since he hasn't been working the count this year and he's their best hitter, so they just don't have options. 

Batting second has been an issue for them lately too, while they do rank 16th in wRC+ at 118, that hasn't shown up lately. 

Alec Bohm in the month of May has been mostly their everyday number two-hitter and has that bad OPS mentioned earlier. Segura has been one of the best hitters on the Phillies this year so it's not impossible they go back to him. 

Last year he put up a .804 OPS when batting second so he is certainly not a bad option as well. 

In totality, the Phillies rank 26th in wRC+ from hitters batting first and second in the lineup this year, which is making Harper's job really difficult once again. 

While we all will and should continue to harp on the manager and the bullpen, the offense hasn't been good enough consistently for them to consistently win games. While they do rank very high in most offensive categories, numbers are down across the entire league and they have 11 games scoring one run or less. 

Part of that has to do with the terrible hitting at the top of the lineup.