No way can the Phillies go into the season with a right fielder who hit .224 with a .654 OPS with runners inspiring position as they did in 2018. Now, all indications are pointing to Bryce Harper either staying with the Nationals or going elsewhere. Read HERE.
We say let’s think outside the box. What about platooning two prospects in right field. Dylan Cozens can hit right handed pitching with his .936 OPS with runners in scoring position against RHP at AAA. This speaks to the production the Phillies need from a corner outfielder.
What about when a LHP is on the mound where Cozens struggles? Then, platoon Cozens with a right handed bat in Jan Hernandez. Jan put up a 1.069 OPS against left handed pitchers last season with runners in scoring position with Reading.
Both Cozens and Hernandez have strong arms and showed they can play right field at a high level last season in the high minors. We would like to see them be given a good long look in right field in spring training, if Harper signs elsewhere.
Will these two get much of a shot? Probably not. Hernandez has not even been invited to the major league camp. On the other hand, the Phillies can not afford another year of Nick Williams playing right field racking up only a .654 OPS with RISP, which he put up last season amid the never ending lineup juggling by the manager.
Hernandez is still playing baseball. His team won the Puerto Rico Winter League Championship Finals last week sweeping the best of seven, 4-0, to qualify for the Caribbean Series. The series will be played in Panama City starting on Monday. See schedule HERE. In those finals, Jan went 7 for 17 with four doubles, a triple and drove in seven runs including going 4 for 6 against left handed pitching.
We will be watching on ESPN Deportes to see if Hernandez can come up “big” for Team Puerto Rico in de Serie de Caribe 2019 starting Monday at 3:00 p.m.