The final 17 games of the season will allow the Phillies to take a look at some young players, some players who need to recoup lost time and some players worthy of being evaluated at different positions or in new roles.
• Jerad Eickhoff was the team’s top starting pitcher two years ago. He has dealt with injuries the past two seasons and has not made a start in the majors this season. Getting him a start or two could be good for his mindset heading into the offseason and give the front office a hint of where he might fit in 2019. Getting Eickhoff a start would also allow the Phils to trim some innings from other starters such as Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta. All have reached career-high innings totals.
• It hasn’t been the year anyone expected for J.P. Crawford. The team traded veteran shortstop Freddy Galvis to clear a spot for Crawford but he failed to secure the regular job early in the season. He struggled offensively and defensively, ended up on the disabled list, got some looks at third base then ended up on the disabled list again before being sent to the minors. Crawford is back and got his first start at shortstop since June on Wednesday night and had three of the Phillies’ five hits, including a homer. Look for Crawford to get more time at shortstop and possibly third base as the Phils keep their options open for the offseason. It’s quite possible that Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez will be moved in the offseason and that will create an infield shuffle. It’s possible that next year’s infield could consist of Rhys Hoskins at first base, Scott Kingery at second, Crawford at third and Manny Machado at shortstop. The Phils still plan a big run at Machado.
• According to sources, Phillies officials have at least discussed the idea of improving their outfield defense by trading Carlos Santana and moving Hoskins back to first base, which would create a spot in left field for Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley, who could be knocking on the door by the middle of next summer. Getting Hoskins some time at first base down the stretch might be a harbinger of this.
• Kingery has improved greatly at shortstop and hats off to him for that. He has shown mental toughness surviving a difficult season and that will benefit him in the future. Getting him some looks at second base, his best position, in the final weeks would seem to make some sense because it still feels like his long-term position with the club.
• Last year at this time, Phillies officials started mulling the idea of converting Seranthony Dominguez from starter to reliever. It made sense because Dominguez was basically a two-pitch guy with power stuff. A year later, you have to wonder if the Phils are contemplating a similar transition for Enyel De Los Santos, the pitcher they got from San Diego for Freddy Galvis. De Los Santos had a strong season as a starter at Triple A and is in the majors now. His breaking ball is inconsistent, but he has a plus fastball and a usable changeup. De Los Santos pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out two on Wednesday night. His fastball averaged 95.8 mph and topped out at 98. After the game, manager Gabe Kapler said De Los Santos showed a “good fastball-changeup combination. We asked him to rely on those two pitches, not exclusively, but certainly looking at those two pitches as a way to come out of the bullpen.” We’ll probably see more of this as the Phillies pinpoint De Los Santos’ future role.